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TV or not TV… that is the question.

October 14, 2009

I’m here today to admit to a crime. A crime so heinous that the punishment is too awful to describe here on a fucking family website.

I let my kids watch Television.

Boobies?

Boobies?

That’s right, the All Seeing Eye, the Boob Tube, the Vast Wasteland… Television.

Now I know that in this day and age, allowing young children to watch television makes a parent one of history’s worst monsters, like Hitler, Stalin, or Barack Hussein Obama.  At least if you are a white upper middle class stay at home parent who should absolutely know better because he or she is well educated and has spent many hours pouring over Parents Magazine and the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics and therefore knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that allowing their precious little angels to spend even a minute exposed to the insidious emanations of the Idiot Box will keep them out of Harvard.

I think y’all  can figure out what I think of that hooey.

The Backyardigans Rock, and sometimes they Polka!

The Backyardigans Rock, and sometimes they Polka!

My kids watch TV, I can live with that. Fuck, I watch TV. I’m a frickin American.  I watch Professional Wrestling for chrissakes, it would be incredibly hypocritical of me to obsess over my kids TV watching habits as if I believed TV was as bad for them as crack cocaine.

As it stands, I actually like a lot of the kids TV  we get nowadays. Compared to the crap I grew up on,  the folks at Nick Jr., PBS Kids, and Baby Einstein are geniuses.

Sure, a lot of this stuff is insipid and over-merchandised. If I could I would make Dora the Explorer disappear, hopefully to some place her equally annoying cousin Diego  could not find  and rescue her.  I’ve seen almost every episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog and I still am at  a loss to explain where all the Big Red Dog Poop is disposed of.

Sesame Street is not the same as the street  we grew up with.  Mister Rogers is gone, but his show lives on in repeats, perhaps forever.  The friendliness of Captain Kangaroo has been replaced with the insipidness of The Wiggles.  Yet still… I don’t feel one bit guilty.

Why? Because I know my kids.  Sure my kids watch TV. Probably more than is recommended by the AAP.  And they’re turning out OK.  I think it’s because we don’t treat the TV like forbidden fruit. We don’t have a prescribed number of minutes they are allowed in front of the tube. We turn it on in the morning and watch Curious George with our breakfast. We pick up Baby Einsteins and Veggie Tales from the library and watch them together (I consider Veggie Tales, whilst cloyingly Christian, some of the funniest stuff made for TV).  And guess what, when my kids get bored with it, because we actually  have seen every episode of Clifford,  then they move on to something else. They draw or build blocks or go outside. Abby practically lives in the back yard weather permitting. Carolina is learning to draw. Linus is learning to drool.  And when they do watch TV, we talk about it. My kids never turn into TV zombies. You know who does? Kids who come over to visit from houses where they restrict TV like its methadone.  You drop them at our place and Spongebob comes on and they just freeze.

I don’t wanna  judge. One of my firm parenting beliefs is that every kid is different. Maybe  a lot of kids turn into axe murderers  because their parents left them at home with MTV on all day. But so far I don’t see it with my Hellions. I’m keepin my fingers crossed.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Perez Christina permalink
    October 14, 2009 10:09 pm

    nice post

  2. Gregory Schulte permalink
    October 15, 2009 2:44 am

    I agree with you. My friends who say “no TV. TV BAD!” are people who don’t watch TV… but my family is not like that. We have the TV on all the time. We watch movies, shows, documentaries… we also read a lot. We listen to music… we consume media, and TV is just that to me. So, how can I say “no TV” to my son?

    And it’s not like TV doesn’t exist in some fairyland my son can grow up in… he will be exposed to TV, merchandising, video games… I want him to know how to deal with these things, not shield him from them. I don’t want him to discover them in an environment I can’t be there to guide him.

  3. blotzphoto permalink*
    October 15, 2009 12:19 pm

    Exactly Greg, plus I don’t want my maggots to go to school with that oh-so-superior air that the “we don’t even own a TV” kids did. Even I wanted to kick that kids ass.

  4. October 25, 2009 8:27 pm

    Fab post, and I completely agree. At a recent 5-year-old birthday party, both my husband and I expressed disappointment at not being allowed a chance to smack the living daylights out of the Dora pinata. We’ve banned Dora from the house, but purely because she’s a) annoying and 2) horrifically bad on getting facts straight.

    Anyway, came over from Dale’s (Meming of Life), where I often read and only sporadically comment. And, if you don’t mind (hell, even if you do), I think I may stick around for a bit. You sound like my kind of people.

  5. blotzphoto permalink*
    October 25, 2009 9:23 pm

    Thank you Allison. I think you’ll find my blog to be a very low pressure follow, considering a seem to post only twice a month.

  6. October 25, 2009 9:30 pm

    If you look at mine, I haven’t posted in 3-1/2 months. Hmmm. Perhaps I should do something about that.

  7. jenifersult permalink
    December 3, 2009 6:46 pm

    I agree, sometimes my kids just need a break, time to just sit and relax and NOT think for few minutes. And they don’t have to watch crap, my kids like cartoons and the Adams Family, but they also love NOVA. I don’t think their little brains are melting any time soon.

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